Waste Connections of Tennessee

Providing residential garbage removal, commercial garbage collection, and Tennessee Recycling Programs

Customer Service — 865-522-8161
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Prescription Drug Disposal

Prescription drug use has become increasingly prevalent across the country, in fact, it is estimated that 4 out of 5 patients leave their doctor’s office with at least one prescription. Doctors often discontinue medications, causing others to go unused. Chances are, you have some expired or unused RX drugs sitting in your medicine cabinet. But what should you do with those unused prescription drugs?

The City of Knoxville, The Knoxville Police Department and the City of Knoxville’s Solid Waste Department as well as Waste Connections Knoxville, are committed to the proper disposal of old or unused prescription and over the counter drugs. In addition to annual and semiannual events held throughout the community, unused prescription and over the counter drugs may be brought to:
                      Knoxville Police Department's Safety Building
                       800 Howard Baker Jr. Avenue
                       7 Days a week – 24 hours a day

The Knoxville Police Department (KPD) maintains a secure collection container on a permanent basis inside the lobby.

Additionally, the collaboration with the KPD and the City of Knoxville, an Unwanted Medicine Collection will take place September 26, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Belew Drugs located at 2021 North Broadway in the Broadway Shopping Center.

If you are like most people, your first thought is to flush them down the toilet or a drain. However, this is not the proper way to dispose of unused prescriptions. Unused prescription drugs are not only a medical and social concern but also an environmental one.

When drugs are disposed of by way of flushing down the toilet or drains, the medicine dissolves into the water system. Despite going through a water treatment facility, some drugs cannot be completely dissolved or completely extracted from water sources. When drugs enter streams, rivers, lakes and oceans, you may think they simply dissolve and with dilution, lose their effectiveness. However, there is much more than a few lose pills entering water systems. Current research provides evidence on a range of impacts to living organisms. Estrogens found in birth controls cause male fish to become female. Antidepressants cause lobsters to become more aggressive. Prozac induces reproduction in shellfish. These are just a few examples of how Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) impact the environment.

There are social and medical effects as well. When drugs are available to anyone aside from the person the prescription is made out to, drugs are susceptible to abuse or could end up in the wrong hands, for example those of a child, curious teen or prescription drug abuser. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in the United States, especially among women. A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) between 1999 and 2010 found a 400 percent increase in prescription drug abuse among women during the study. This growing epidemic continues to sweep the nation as according to the CDC, currently, 44 people in the U.S. die every day from accidental or intentional overdose of prescription painkillers, and many more become addicted.

Expired drugs lose their potency after the expiration date. While according to the CDC, there are no known health threats to taking most prescription drugs after the expiration date, they lose their potency and stability as time goes on.

Waste Connections Knoxville is committed to keeping its employees safe and providing sound information on how to dispose of all of your household items, including medicines. We encourage you to take simple steps to protect your family and dispose of all expired or unused prescription drugs properly and safely.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Unwanted Medicine Collection September 26, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Belew Drugs located at 2021 North Broadway in the Broadway Shopping Center.

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